Taking a ferry is one of the best ways to get around Greece. But did you know that there are a few interesting quirks about the whole experience?
A ferry is a boat that carries passengers or freight across a river, lake, or arm of the sea. It can also refer to a ship or a company that runs such boats.
1. The ferry is a form of transportation
Most people know that a ferry is a ship or boat that transports passengers from one place to another, but the definition goes further than that. Ferries are the vessels that take you to and from islands in Greece. It’s important to know that the Greek Island ferry system can be a bit confusing, especially during the summer when there are so many boats and schedules.
The ferry was a necessity in the days before engineers could build bridges and tunnels over large bodies of water. The first ferries were small watercrafts that were propelled by poles or oars. Later, bigger flatboats took over and sails were used when conditions allowed. The profession of the ferryman is immortalized in Greek mythology as Charon, who carried souls across the River Styx into the Underworld.
Today, a ferry is any vessel that carries passengers and cargo from one location to another on a regular basis. The term also refers to the legal franchise or right to maintain a vessel for carrying passengers and freight across a river or bay in exchange for a fee.
Some ferries can be double-ended, meaning that they have propellers on both ends of the boat. This allows them to make the trip in less time than a single-ended ferry. If you’re considering taking a ferry, consider how much time you have and if you can handle the choppy waters. If you can’t, flying is almost always a better option.
2. It’s a way to save money
When you’re planning a trip, it’s always nice to have a few interesting facts at your disposal. You can find most of them in your trusty travel guide or by doing some online research. However, there are a few quirky customs and quirks about Greece that you won’t read in just any guide book.
One of the best things about island-hopping in Greece is that ferries are inexpensive. Unlike other forms of transport, such as trains or cars, ferry tickets are usually one-way, and you don’t need to purchase them months in advance. This makes them a great option for those with flexible itineraries. You can also save money on ferry tickets by buying a pass for multiple days of travel, such as the Eurail Ferry Pass for the Greek Islands, which is valid for four or six consecutive days.
It’s important to keep in mind that the waters off of some of the Greek Islands can be extremely choppy, especially in the summer. This can make the experience uncomfortable and even nauseating for those who get seasick easily. In addition, ferries often take longer than flights, so it’s always worth looking into flying, if possible.
3. It’s a way to escape
The azure waters and quaint villages of Greece were famous long before envy-inducing photos started flooding your Instagram feed. But there’s a lot more to this dreamy European country than pretty vistas. We’re talking history, food, mythology, and some pretty crazy laws and customs. And you won’t find most of these wacky facts in your standard travel guide.
1. The Greeks are serious about coffee. They rank among the world’s biggest consumers of this beverage, and drink it with a sense of ceremony — much like brushing their teeth. 2. There are 6,000 islands in Greece, with about 1,200 of them inhabited. The smallest is Levitha, at four square miles, and it’s owned by just one family. 3. The saying “take the bull by the horns” is from an ancient Greek story about Hercules and a raging bull. 4. On the island of Santorini, you’ll find a lot of wineries and vineyards. The island is also home to the first Olympic games, and it was where Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was born.
Mykonos is known for its pelicans, and the town’s mascot is Petros. This lovable creature was once hurt and nursed back to health by locals, and then adopted as the island’s mascot.
4. It’s a way to see the world
With 6,000 islands, Greece’s island landscape runs the gamut from rock jutting out of the sea to densely populated island towns pulsing with energy and secluded coves fringed with paint-peeling fishing skiffs. And the ferry is an important means of travel for getting between them, especially in summer when hordes of people descend on the most popular destinations.
The ferries may not be the fastest, but they do frequent all the islands that aren’t served by airports and run fairly on schedule. So you don’t have to worry about your dinner arriving late or waiting hours for a table at the most sought-after restaurant, and you can focus on the more important things like discovering (yet another) secluded beach or exploring (yet another) awe-inspiring ancient ruin.
As a bonus, you’ll also see more of the country than if you were to just fly in and out of Athens and head straight for the beaches. For example, some of the smaller islands, such as Hydra, are car-free, and you have to take a donkey to get around. And on the larger islands, you’ll find that 80% of the population lives in the mountains.
So when you board your next ferry to Santorini, know that you’re part of a long tradition that dates back thousands of years and is one of the most beautiful and fascinating cultures in the world. And don’t forget, when you get home from your Greek island vacation, you can impress your friends with all the interesting facts you learned.